We have been on Grandeur and Enchantment before, but due to future time and $$$$ constraints, we will be taking a 5 day cruise aboard the Monarch of the Seas in a few months. How does this ship compare to the "Vision" class ships??? Thanks for your help.
I have sailed several times on each of the following classes of RCCL ships (Sovereign, Vision and Voyager). I agree with the idea that the ships have gotten better with each upgrade, at least in the concept of being more contemporary. However, I disagree with the comparison of chicken salad to chicken s**t. To continue the food analogy, I would suggest that the products are the same fundamental meal, but differ by the style of preparation, each tasty, but the later ships have a bit more flair and spice. As to service and food quality, I think that is dependent on the ship and not the class of ship. I think you weill enjoy the Monarch, I know I did as I did the other classes of RCCL ships. They were all well presented.
I am always surprised when I hear the question... "is this ship 'better' than that one". All ships are not equal and each offers a unique cruise experience with values unique to the vessel. It is wonderful to be able to experience the differences in ships... within the same line and surely between lines. Each has its place and each offers the guest a cruise experience with different but equally enjoyable components. For the record, the smaller, mellow Monarch has a warm and friendly atmosphere that comes with age... and it is a delight.
We were on Monarch for our honeymoon in 1991 (Monarch's 4th voyage) and it was great in all respects. We sailed on the Soverin about 4 years ago and I was not that impressed with the condition of the ship. It's age was showing and RCL does not maintain and clean nearly as well as Celebrity. The food was just as good and the shows were a little worst probably because it was a 4 day as opposed to a 7 day. All in all I prefer ships thatare no older then 5 years. In summary don't have as high expectations and you will probably be disappointed.
I'm with you Ernie. Bigger isn't necessarily better (though I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Explorer of the Seas) and this fascination with being on the newest ship and depicting any ship that has been sailing a few years as "old" is IMHO unfair and inaccurate. Ships such as Sovereign, Monarch and Majesty, are certainly not old in the sense we might use the term when referring to ships that were built in the 50s and 60s and have been recycled through a series of different lines. Obviously ships which are now doing 3 and 4 night cruises instead of traditional 7 night or longer cruises, probably get harder wear from the number of passengers they carry, but on my last cruise on Sovereign of the Seas, a year or so ago, I was impressed with the results of her recent refurbishment and observed constant and ongoing maintenance. They may not have all the bells and whistles, but they still have a lot to offer, most of all enthusiastic crew members who will make every effort to make a cruise on the ship a memorable one.
We have sailed the Monarch two years in a row (99/2000) and loved her. We have also sailed on the Explorer 2001 and will be sailing her again March 2nd of this year. There is no comparrison..Explorer has much more going for it as far as activities...rock climbing wall,miniture golf, ice show as well as ice skating etc. But the Monarch will always be dear to our hearts. We had a great time on her. The food was good, the service was great; in fact we may sail on her again next year. Explorer is more fast paced then the Monarch,but the Monarch still has alot going for her. One word of caution though don't ever sail the Explorer during spring break unless you like crowds and lots of children(although they were never a problem) There were approx.3500 to 3600 passenger when we went (spring break) and we had a devil of a time getting an elevator. I think you will really enjoy yourself on the Monarch I know we did...after all we sailed on her two years in a row that ought to tell you something.
Just returned from the Monarch New Year's cruise. We were on the Enchantment last summer. We had a wonderful time on both cruises so don't think you will be slumming it on the Monarch. After the Enchantment, the first impression on the Monarch was that it was a little dark and dingy (not as many windows) and there was the 80's brass and glass decor, and the dining rooms are only one level so not as nice as the Enchantment.....BUT that's about it...we got over it fast and REALLY enjoyed the cruise. The food on the Enchantment was very good, but the Monarch the food was SUPURB!!! Our table agreed that we would call these meals gourmet (especially the New Years dinner).
There were many other outstanding things about the Monarch...the service, the large deck area around the two pools, and the Winjammer Cafe was a beautiful place to sit.
Cabins are smaller-not as many drawers, and the Sound of music theatre looks very elegant at first glance, but really needs an overhaul (many seats and fold-down tableswere broken and some of the sightlines were wery bad. The ship is very clean and well maintained (in better shape than many hotels of the same vintage). Enjoy your cruise and have fun!!